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Avon finishes 2nd in Class MM – The Collinsville Press
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Avon finishes 2nd in Class MM

Rosow wins state championship in Class MM race

Avon finished second in Class MM. From left to right, Kristen Goldie, Molly Hamel, Julia deSimas, coach Al Daddario, Rachael Rosow, Sara Stokesbury, Madison Zapatka and Katie McIntyre.

MANCHESTER, Oct. 29 – It had been nearly two decades – 17 years – since the Avon High girls cross country team had returned from the CIAC cross country championship meet with some championship hardware.

On a frosty morning only hours before nearly foot of heavy, wet snow fell that plunged the entire town of Avon, the Farmington Valley and thousands of state residents into a 10-day power outage, the Falcons ran to a strong second place finish at the Class MM championship meet at Wickham Park. It was Avon’s first CIAC trophy since winning the Class SS title in 1994.

Sophomore Rachael Rosow became the third Avon High girl to win a state championship, racing to a 18-second victory over the 3.1 mile course in 19:31. Teammate Sara Stokesbury was fourth in 19:57 while Molly Hamel finished 12th in 20:33. Rosow and Stokebury earned All-State honors for finishing in the top eight.

Avon’s 70 point score was its lowest CIAC meet score since 1986 when they won a Class S title with 44 points. But it was still far off the pace set by Guilford, which won its eighth straight Class MM championship with a state-record score of 32.

The Indians had five runners among the top 13 finishes and all seven of their runners in the top 15 places. Guilford finished second at the State Open championships on Nov. 8 at Hammonasset State Park in Madison.

It was a fitting achievement for the Falcon squad that went undefeated in the dual meet portion of the North Central Connecticut Conference (13-0), won the NCCC championship meet and league championship along with the Bellringer Invitational in East Hampton and the Nonnewaug Invitational in Woodbury.

It is a young team, too. Rosow and Stokesbury are sophomores while Hamel is a freshman. Sophomore Madison Zapatka (26th), junior Katie McIntyre (27th), sophomore Julia deSimas and freshman Kristen Goldie rounded out the remainder of the varsity squad.

Rosow hasn’t lost a dual meet in her two years on the team. But she has been challenged in invitational events. She won at the Going to the Sun Invitational at Coginchaug in Durham but lost the Bellringer and the NCCC championship meet to Coventry’s fantastic freshman Ellie Jean, a national caliber soccer player.

Avon coach Al Daddario told Rosow that she could win the Class MM title. “He told me that I had a shot of winning this,” Rosow said. “And if someone tells me I have a shot at winning it I will do everything I can to win it . I just went out hard. I felt really good and really strong the whole time.”

The last Avon girl to win a state title was Claire Smith in 2009 when she won the Class MM title. Before that, Mary McNutt won back-to-back state titles in 1974 and 1975.

The second place finish qualified Avon for the State Open championship race, which had originally been scheduled for Friday, Nov. 4 in Wickham Park.
But the course was so torn up from the CIAC championship meets and the Central Connecticut Conference meets a week earlier that the State Open venue was moved to Madison.

At the Open, Hamel had Avon’s best time, finishing 44th in 20:18 in a field of nearly 150 runners. Rosow stumbled near the finish and ended up back in the pack.

BOYS CROSS COUNTRY: Avon finished eighth in Class MM championship meet led by Jeff Demers, who finished 17th with a time of 17:22 over 3.1 miles. Sean Deneen, Justin Alessio, Tyler McCutcheon and Michael Oberhausen all finished within four seconds of each other in 45th, 47th, 48th and 49th place, respectively.

Avon runners take off at the start of the Class MM championship race at Wickham Park.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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